Blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction: serial killers in the context of dark tourism




Dark tourism, film, literature, serial killers, tours


Serial killers fascinate people and books, films, TV series and other types of entertainment increasingly cater to this interest providing sensationalized media coverage. The theory suggests that the boundaries are blurred considerably between fact and fiction, even for the serial killers themselves. For many people, serial killers are both frightening and attractive enough to motivate them to go on tours and visit sites, museums and other attractions that are associated with them. This paper explores the motivation for consuming true and fictional crime including murders and serial killing with an emphasis on literature, films, TV series as well as tourism. A content analysis of the websites of walking tours, museums and other attractions connected to fictional and real serial killers was undertaken, as well as a questionnaire with a niche sample of respondents who commented on their experience and perceptions of serial killers within a dark tourism context. The results suggest that while tourists tend to prefer real serial killers to fictional ones, only a small number of tourists actually engage in this form of dark tourism. Their motivations tend to be more connected to education or entertainment rather than a morbid obsession with death or tragedy.


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How to Cite

Smith, M. K. ., & Virág Tevely, T. (2023). Blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction: serial killers in the context of dark tourism. Tourism and Heritage Journal, 4, 53–75.